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This one pot pasta with kale and Italian sausage comes together in minutes for an easy weeknight meal!
After seeing a few Tasty-style one pot pasta recipes floating around the web, I was both intrigued by the technique and super skeptical. Could placing uncooked pasta, meat, and veggies in a pan then boiling it really lead to a delicious pasta? And, if I made it gluten-free would the pasta just turn to mush?
I’m happy to say that after a few tries, I’m no longer skeptical of the one pot pasta trend! This pasta has Italian sausage, plenty of kale, parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice, capers, a hint of red pepper flakes, and a creamy sauce.
How is one pot pasta different from regular pasta?
Typically when making pasta, you boil the pasta in one pot and make the other components in a separate pot, then combine them together. While we love classic pasta, this method also usually leads to 2-3 dirty pans, as well as the pasta strainer and utensils.
For this pasta, we simply combine all the ingredients in one pot and let it cook! No straining, no sauteing, and minimal dirty dishes. That makes this pasta absolutely perfect for quick weeknight meals.
Another difference from regular pasta is that by cooking the pasta in one pot with less water than you’d normally boil it in, the pasta water reduces down to create a creamy, starchy sauce. If you are dairy-free and missing creamy pasta – this one is for you!
Which pasta is best for One Pot Pasta?
Great question! Any kind of pasta will work for one pot pasta. We chose spaghetti (or linguini) here, but angel hair and fettuccine pasta will also work. Shorter pasta (think: bow-tie, penne, rotini, etc.) should work well too, it may just need a little bit longer to cook, so be sure to taste test a few noodles before taking the pot off of the heat!
How to Make One Pan Pasta
Let’s jump into how to make this pasta!
- Add the pasta, sliced garlic, salt, sausage, and water to a pot. First, you’ll start off by adding the sturdier ingredients to the pan. Make sure you choose a pan that the pasta fits in fully, then bring it to a boil.
- Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-high and set a timer for 10 minutes. You’ll want to stir the pasta occasionally, as it will stick to the bottom of the pot due to the reduced liquid content.
- Add the kale and lemon juice. After 10 minutes is up, stir in the kale and lemon juice, and let it cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and a thick sauce has formed, then remove from heat.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients. Finally, add the olive oil, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and capers to the pasta and toss to combine, then serve immediately!
Tips for Making the Best One Pot Pasta
- Don’t overcook it. It may seem obvious, but the biggest key to this pasta is to make sure you watch it closely and don’t let it overcook! If the pasta overcooks it will become mushy and create a gloppy, starchy sauce.
- Prep all your ingredients in advance. The first time I made this pasta, I thought I’d have plenty of time to wash and chop the kale, squeeze the lemon, grate the cheese, etc while the pasta was cooking – but I quickly found out I didn’t, which led to overcooked pasta. For this recipe, I definitely recommend prepping all your ingredients ahead of time!
- Make sure the noodles fit completely in the pan. Typically when you make spaghetti it is ok if the spaghetti doesn’t fit fully in the pot, but in this case, you want to make sure your pan can accommodate the noodles so they cook evenly. If it doesn’t – feel free to break them in half! You can also use a noodle other than spaghetti or linguine here, but the cooking time may need a slight adjustment.
- Stir it as it cooks. As mentioned above, since there’s less water involved here, the pasta can easily stick to the bottom of the pot, so it’s important to give the pasta a stir every few minutes to keep it from sticking.
- If you find it too starchy, add a bit of water or broth. If you taste the pasta and feel like the sauce is too thick or starchy, add a bit of water or broth to thin it out.
- Make it your own. You can easily make adjustments to this pasta! Prefer spinach over kale? Add that instead. You can also change up the type of sausage you’re using, substitute the sausage for shrimp, or add extra veggies like cherry tomatoes or shallots.
Whether you make it gluten-free or not, we hope this one pot pasta becomes a staple in your weeknight meal menu!
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One Pot Pasta Frequently Asked Questions
This is totally up to you, actually! You can make this a “one pot” pasta and use a dutch oven or soup pot, or you can make this a “one pan” pasta and use a deep skillet. You’ll just want to use a deep enough vessel so that the water is deep enough to cook all of the noodles. We used a Staub 3.75-qt Dutch Oven to make it and it had just enough room!
Yes! We tested this with Jovial brown rice spaghetti. We’d recommend sticking with either brown rice or corn-based pasta if you’re using gluten-free, as chickpea or similar pasta will produce a gummy sauce. It’s even more important to watch gluten-free pasta in the final stages of cooking to make sure it doesn’t overcook – or you’ll be left with a mushy mess!
This pasta has it all – protein, carbs, and a healthy dose of green veggies, so it can totally be served all on its own for a filling, complete, and absolutely delicious meal. If you’d like to have a side to serve alongside this one pan dish, though, this simple arugula salad pairs with it perfectly!
- 12 ounces spaghetti or linguine this one is our favorite for gluten-free
- 12 ounces fully cooked Italian sausage sliced (we used Aidell’s)
- 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- Zest of one lemon about 1 teaspoon
- Juice of two lemons about 1/4 cup
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 2 heads lacinato kale de-stemmed and chopped
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese optional
- 1/4 cup capers
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Fresh cracked black pepper for garnish
- Combine pasta, sliced chicken sausage, lemon zest, sliced garlic, olive oil, salt, and 4 1/2 cups water in a large pot over high heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to medium-high and set a timer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- After 10 minutes, add the kale and lemon juice and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and about 90% of the water is gone and a thick sauce has formed, then remove the pasta from heat.
- Add fresh cracked black pepper, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes, capers and toss to combine. Serve immediately.